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Case Study | Avigilon

Avigilon, a Motorola Solutions Company, Lowers Translation Costs and Reduces the Time to Publish Localized Product Help with MadCap Flare, MadCap Lingo, and MadTranslations

Company Website

www.avigilon.com

Location

Vancouver, BC, Canada

Industry

Video Surveillance and Security

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Goals:

  • Implement single-source authoring to replace outdated document production in legacy applications.
  • Establish an efficient, responsive process for localizing content in up to nine languages.

Solutions:

Benefits:

  • MadCap Flare has enabled Avigilon to consolidate content, streamlining the process of authoring and publishing documentation as PDFs and interactive online Help.
  • Flare and MadTranslations enable an efficient localization process that utilizes translation automation technology, which has helped Avigilon lower translation costs and reduce publishing time.
  • Utilizing translation memory, machine translation and terminology management tools all contribute to improving the quality of Avigilon’s localized content by ensuring consistency and accuracy. This approach allows the company to support more customers with high-quality content.

Avigilon, a Motorola Solutions company, designs, develops and manufactures solutions in video analytics, cloud, security cameras, video management software and hardware, and access control. To help customers optimize the use of its solutions, Avigilon works with MadCap Flare, MadCap Lingo, and MadTranslations to deliver documentation worldwide in English plus eight different languages.

From government and public utilities to the banking, education, entertainment, industrial, and healthcare sectors, many types of organizations rely on video technology from Avigilon, a Motorola Solutions Company, to ensure their security and reliability. Avigilon’s sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) powered security solutions include video analytics, cameras, sensors, and access control and video management software.

Avigilon recognizes that to get the most out its solutions, customers need comprehensive and easily accessible information. To help these customers optimize their use of its offerings, Avigilon works with MadCap Flare, MadCap Lingo, and MadTranslations to deliver documentation worldwide in English plus up to eight different languages.

The Need for an All-in-One Solution

Prior to 2014, Avigilon's technical documentation team relied on Adobe FrameMaker and Adobe RoboHelp to produce large PDF documents that required extensive copying and pasting of content, which became increasingly difficult to maintain. Moreover, these documents were chapter-based rather than task or topic-based, making it challenging for users to find the information they needed.

Similarly, in preparing translated content for up to eight target languages, the technical documentation team had to spend several hours copying and pasting content and managing updates and revisions, which quickly multiplied the effort required.

The company soon realized it needed an end-to-end solution that would drive the development of more modern documentation to support its customers as well as enable a more efficient content reuse and localization process.

Streamlining Content Delivery

The first step was migrating its documentation authoring to MadCap Flare. Following an extensive evaluation, Avigilon's technical documentation team determined that MadCap Flare would be the best choice for their needs. The team then committed to getting trained on MadCap Flare and leveraging support from MadCap Software to develop Avigilon’s documentation.

“Leveraging MadCap Flare's multiple outputs, we were able to take our PDFs and publish them in a modern, online format with very little overhead.”
photo of Aini Bhatti

Aini Bhatti
Technical Writer | Avigilon, a Motorola Solutions Company

The investment paid off. Avigilon has successfully consolidated more than 60 publications into seven different Flare projects, significantly improving content reuse and authoring efficiency.

By taking advantage of the single-source publishing functionality in MadCap Flare, Avigilon is able to write content topics once, reuse them when creating new documents, and publish them in multiple outputs. Using variables in MadCap Flare to insert different product names or user interface (UI) strings has also helped the technical writing team reduce their authoring efforts. In addition, smaller chunks of text that are repeated often get committed to snippets to facilitate content reuse.

Avigilon documentation portal screenshot

A modern documentation portal allows Avigilon to deliver documentation worldwide in English plus, up to eight other languages.

“Leveraging MadCap Flare's multiple outputs, we’re able to take our PDFs and publish them in a modern, online format with very little overhead,” observes Aini Bhatti, a technical writer at Avigilon.

Importantly, because most documentation will be translated, the Avigilon team only pulls from the MadCap Flare master project, which resides in Git for version control, to send content for translation. Content being developed in branches is only updated to the master project once it is ready for publication and localization.

“We discovered that having different versions of the same project being translated in parallel, doesn't work that well,” explains Luz Pineda, a localization engineer at Avigilon. “We need to use the Git repository where our Flare content is stored as it was meant to be used, so there is one source of content being sent for translation.”

Needed: Localization to Keep Pace with Documentation

Despite Avigilon’s ability to streamline its documentation authoring, versioning and publishing with MadCap Flare, the company still faced challenges in translating this content using its previous localization processes and technologies.

“With our previous localization process, we experienced issues with deliveries, such as lost formatting and variables, and stacked tags at the end of segments. This resulted in our technical documentation team having to take on additional quality assurance tasks, which delayed the delivery of localized content to project stakeholders,” recalled Paula Hunter, senior manager, localization and tech documentation, at Avigilon. “After working together with our vendor exploring creative ways to resolve these challenges, we decided to explore the capabilities of MadTranslations, as they were truly the experts with the tools we were using.”

The MadTranslations consultants used MadCap Lingo, the translation memory software (TMS) designed to work with MadCap Flare, and they brought a deeper knowledge of MadCap Flare and its multilingual capabilities.

Migrating to a New TMS Tool

In moving to MadTranslations for localization, the Avigilon team decided to migrate from the TMS it previously used over to MadCap Lingo. The team would then use MadCap Lingo to package up the content and send it over to MadTranslations to complete the translation and localization.

“We decided to start using MadCap Lingo internally, as we were already familiar with other computer-assisted translation tools,” Paula observed.

However, the Avigilon team started to experience gaps in translation and new issues introduced with the localized technical documentation deliveries. So, they turned to MadTranslations for advice, as the subject matter and tools experts. The MadTranslations team recommended a translation memory clean-up for those projects covering its two biggest product offerings: Avigilon Control Center (ACC) and Avigilon Access Control Manager (ACM). This would address any of the gaps that often result from moving from one TMS tool to another. Avigilon then proceeded with the clean-up in stages, since the documentation team still needed to keep pace with product updates.

Avigilon screenshot

By taking advantage of the single-source publishing functionality in MadCap Flare, Avigilon is able to write content topics once, reuse them when creating new documents, and publish them in multiple outputs.

“MadTranslations was very helpful in providing guidance and direction on the most cost-effective way to clean up our translation memory.”
photo of Paula Hunter

Paula Hunter
Senior Manager, Localization and Tech Documentation | Avigilon, a Motorola Solutions Company

Through the clean-up project, MadTranslations was able to improve Avigilon's Flare project structure to make translation faster and output to final publication more reliable. This meant improving variable substitution to work across multiple languages without error. Additionally, MadTranslations and the Avigilon team collaborated in educating authors on how best to use variables so that they work in English and when translated. These measures resulted in improved matching of existing translations.

“MadTranslations was very helpful in providing guidance and direction on the most cost-effective way to clean up our translation memory,” Paula said.

Creating a Superior Localization Experience

As a result of working with the MadTranslations team and using MadCap Lingo, Avigilon has been able to reduce its translation project time and costs while improving translation accuracy. The company also has recognized several other advantages. First, it now has much better visibility and control over the number of words being translated as a result of using MadCap Lingo.

“MadCap Lingo is the best tool to know what exactly has to be translated and what doesn't,” Luz says. “With our previous processes and tools, we often saw discrepancies in the word count because the scope of translation was unclear. Now, with Lingo, we can see what files aren’t translated, and MadTranslations does the same. It lets us give our documentation team a good reason why we are asking for a certain amount of time to complete a translation.”

Meanwhile, the automated quality assurance (QA) process provided by MadTranslations helps to streamline localization efforts.

“MadCap Lingo is the best tool to know what exactly has to be translated and what doesn't. It lets us give our documentation team a good reason why we are asking for a certain amount of time to complete a translation.”
photo of Luz Pineda

Luz Pineda
Localization Engineer | Avigilon, a Motorola Solutions Company

“Our previous QA process was largely manual, resulting in delays and errors,” Luz recalls. “MadTranslations has an automated QA process that they run on a regular basis, which is important for handling all the files we have for each of our projects, especially since many of these need to be translated into four to eight languages.”

Avigilon screenshot

As a result of working with MadTranslations, Avigilon has been able to reduce its translation project time and costs while improving translation accuracy.

The full-service support and flexibility offered by MadTranslations have also facilitated Avigilon’s localization efforts. Traditionally, the company would publish all the outputs from its translated files. However, the Avigilon team has since taken advantage of the ability to offload their publishing to MadTranslations in addition to the localizations.

“I really appreciate the flexibility in our workflow with MadTranslations. Depending on turnaround time or budget remaining, we can outsource everything to MadTranslations or do the engineering in house.”

Paula Hunter
Senior Manager, Localization and Tech Documentation | Avigilon, a Motorola Solutions Company

“It used to take our documentation team four days to publish some of the bigger files, such as those for our ACC product. Now we use the full-service option to have MadTranslations generate the PDFs and HTML for our larger projects while we continue to publish the outputs for smaller projects,” Paula explains. “I really appreciate the flexibility in our workflow with MadTranslations. Depending on turnaround time or budget remaining, we can outsource everything to MadTranslations or do the engineering in-house.”

“When I started two years ago, I had to set aside a whole week to process translations and generate localized outputs. After working with MadTranslations, the new process takes me less than an hour. ”

Aini Bhatti
Technical Writer | Avigilon, a Motorola Solutions Company

The localization services provided by MadTranslations have enabled the Avigilon team to gain significant efficiencies and support the company’s rapid growth. For example, Aini, who is responsible for publishing the translations, was able to reduce her post-translation work from five days to a half-day.

“Working with MadTranslations, we're able to deliver localized documentation either at the time of a product release or shortly after, instead of having to wait a few weeks or a month.”

Paula Hunter
Senior Manager, Localization and Tech Documentation | Avigilon, a Motorola Solutions Company

“When I started two years ago, I had to set aside a whole week to process translations and generate localized outputs. This included QA, troubleshooting snippet or condition issues, and resizing images,” Aini explained. “Working with MadTranslations, we have cleaned up our translation process to the point where we can get the QA'd outputs delivered directly to us. I only have to do a quick check of the outputs before handing off the final copies. The new process takes me less than an hour.”

Paula adds, “Working with MadTranslations, we're able to deliver localized documentation either at the time of a product release or shortly after, instead of having to wait a few weeks or a month. And our writers have more time to develop content, so that we can support all the new products being introduced. MadTranslations has been invaluable in enabling us to scale with the business.”

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